General Policies and Procedures
Whether you’re brand new or you’ve been here for ages, whether you’re here one hour a week or sixteen, the following policies and procedures are intended to guide all of our Conservatory activities.
1. Wait for an Instructor
Even if you know that you left your shoes backstage, or that your class will be meeting in the studio in ten minutes, please do not leave the lobby and wander in the building without an instructor present. Unsupervised time in the working space can be risky in a live theatre setting. Please gather in the lobby prior to classes starting and if you must leave the working space for any reason during class, please tell an instructor.
2. Bar & Kitchen
Because we are a working theatre, we do keep a paint kitchen next to the lobby, as well as a bar for concessions and drinks. AT NO TIME are students allowed behind the bar or in the kitchen.
3. Bring What You Need & Take What You Bring
During class time, phones and other electronic devices should be silenced and are not to be used unless the instructor allows it for recording or instructional purposes. Please avoid bringing other large, bulky items that you do not need for class, as Playhouse Merced is not responsible for items left in the lobby during a class session. Taking all of your things ensures that our lobby is clear for theatre patrons as well as preventing accidents.
4. Closed-Toed Shoes, Well-Fitted Clothing and Water Bottles
Things you SHOULD bring include closed-toed shoes (no sandals or peep-toes: again, working theatre!) as well as clothing which fits well and allows movement without insecurity on the part of the wearer, and a bottle for water. No other food or drinks are allowed into the theatre space or the upstairs studio. We do encourage every student to bring bottled water in order to remain hydrated during work.
5. Refunds and Cancellations
Generally, no refunds for Conservatory courses are issued, and price is based on a general assumption of a 3.5-week month over the course of an 8-month, 28-week year. Students are charged for a month of classes whenever they begin their coursework. Federal and school holidays are also observed by the Conservatory, as well as a few locally-observed interruptions. In the very unlikely event that an entire course is cancelled, a refund will be issued.
6. Leaving the Premises
After classes are finished, students whose parents have given express permission to the Education Associate, or the on-call staff member, are allowed to leave the building. Most parents and guardians join us in the lobby or back parking lot for pick-up. A lot of flexibility is given, but we make every attempt to know you and your child well enough to prevent accidents and problems. During the Summer Youth Theatre Festival, students are signed out daily by a list of guardians, or parents may give students written permission to sign themselves out.
7. Parking Lot Courtesy
If you are pulling up to drop off or pick up your child, please approach the Playhouse from the East, making it so the passenger side of your car is available as you pull up to the door. It prevents children from having to circle around in front of other passing cars. A plastic “crossing guard” (fondly titled Timmy the Safety Turtle) is placed in the alleyway during classes to help avoid collisions and scares due to speed.
8. Violent or Disrespectful Behavior
Our children don’t behave that way, and neither do our parents. Anyone within the Conservatory family who is behaving aggressively, using foul language, or causing issues by gossiping or bullying may be pulled in for a consultation, and if the behavior continues they may be asked to leave. We will always make every attempt to understand the motives and underlying problems of students and families, and problem-solve where we are able. But blatantly violent or disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated.
9. Issues with Instructors or Staff
It is of highest priority to the Playhouse staff that our students and families feel safe with the instructors at Playhouse Merced. Instructors are people you have seen in Playhouse shows, spoken to around the building, and who are uniquely qualified to teach their chosen art forms. We take no complaint lightly and make great attempts to understand the points raised by students, parents and staff, as well as the instructors themselves.
Issues with the behavior of an instructor or staff member are to be brought immediately to the attention of the Education Director, Beth Christensen. If an issue is arising with an instructor, she will confer with all parties and will then act accordingly, resulting in one of the following:
a. Issue an informal reprimand
b. Issue a formal reprimand
c. Remove unsupervised teaching privileges
d. Remove said instructor altogether
Issues with the behavior of staff is to be brought immediately to the attention of the Education Director who will then bring it to the attention of Alyse Neubert, the Artistic Director. At that point, it is out of the Education Director's hands aside from coordinating meetings and defending the rights of students, parents, and her Conservatory family.
10. Issues with Other Students
Being a family does occasionally mean not getting along. We encourage students to engage in emotional activities, and sometimes that means high tensions and vulnerability. If an issue with another student arises, please report it immediately to the Education Associate so that both families and students can be spoken with, and the following steps can be taken:
a. Behavioral assessment and reprimand
b. Student separation
c. Parental intervention
d. Student dismissal
It takes a great deal to cause us to dismiss a student from our program, and we will go to every available option before considering it. Students who are dismissed are welcome to re-enroll the next season on a trial basis after a meeting with the Education Director.